Microsoft Warns of Application-based Phishing

application based phishingMicrosoft has issued an advisory warning about “consent phishing,” or application-based phishing attacks that rely on users granting permissions to malicious apps. These attacks aren’t as well-known or as obvious as credential-harvesting or email-based phishing attacks, but they can be just as dangerous. In consent phishing attacks, the user sees a pop-up from an application requesting extensive permissions. This consent screen lists all the permissions the app will receive, and many users may go on to accept the terms uncritically because they assume the app is trustworthy.

“If the user accepts, the attacker can gain access to their mail, forwarding rules, files, contacts, notes, profile, and other sensitive data and resources,” Microsoft explains.

Microsoft describes the steps in such an attack:

  1. “An attacker registers an app with an OAuth 2.0 provider, such as Azure Active Directory.
  2. “The app is configured in a way that makes it seem trustworthy, like using the name of a popular product used in the same ecosystem.
  3. “The attacker gets a link in front of users, which may be done through conventional email-based phishing, by compromising a non-malicious website, or other techniques.
  4. “The user clicks the link and is shown an authentic consent prompt asking them to grant the malicious app permissions to data.
  5. “If a user clicks accept, they will grant the app permissions to access sensitive data.
  6. “The app gets an authorization code which it redeems for an access token, and potentially a refresh token.
  7. “The access token is used to make API calls on behalf of the user.”

Microsoft says users should pay attention to which app is actually requesting permissions.

“Keep a watchful eye on app names and domain URLs,” the company says. “Attackers like to spoof app names that make it appear to come from legitimate applications or companies but drive you to consent to a malicious app. Make sure you recognize the app name and domain URL before consenting to an application.”

New-school security awareness training can help your employees stay abreast of evolving attack techniques.

Microsoft has the story

Free Phishing Security Test

Would your users fall for convincing phishing attacks? Take the first step now and find out before bad actors do. Plus, see how you stack up against your peers with phishing Industry Benchmarks. The Phish-prone percentage is usually higher than you expect and is great ammo to get budget.

PST ResultsHere's how it works:

  • Immediately start your test for up to 100 users (no need to talk to anyone)
  • Select from 20+ languages and customize the phishing test template based on your environment
  • Choose the landing page your users see after they click
  • Show users which red flags they missed, or a 404 page
  • Get a PDF emailed to you in 24 hours with your Phish-prone % and charts to share with management
  • See how your organization compares to others in your industry

Go Phishing Now!

PS: Don't like to click on redirected buttons? Cut & Paste this link in your browser:

Subscribe To Our Blog

Cybersecurity Awareness Month Resource Kit

Get the latest about social engineering

Subscribe to CyberheistNews